Dog attack victim out of coma as Dallas prepares for dog ordinance vote

A Dallas man is out of a coma but still in critical condition after a dog attack in his South Dallas neighborhood. That attack and others like it have sparked calls for increased regulations when it comes to dangerous dogs and their owners.

Ronnie Bell, 57, was attacked by three dogs who got out of an open gate on June 16. He was brought to the hospital in critical condition and was in the ICU for a number of days. He’s starting to show some signs of improvement but will need to have his right arm amputated.

The surgery is happening in the same week that the Dallas City Council will vote on whether to strengthen its “dangerous and aggressive dogs” ordinance.

Lillie Burnett, Bell’s mother, says she hopes it passes. Over the past few weeks she’s constantly been by her son’s bedside. It’s been a rough road.

“He was in a coma and they had him on life support because they had to put 14 pints of blood in him,” Burnett said. “He about bled to death.”

A spokeswoman with Dallas Animal Services said the dogs got out of the homeowner’s yard through an open gate. They attacked Bell as he was walking home from a convenience store. Armed with only a pocket knife, he tried to fight back.

“It's bad,” Burnett said. “He's chewed all over. They have so many staples in his legs.”

The attack is the latest example of the city's problem with loose and dangerous dogs – especially in the southern part of the city.

In 2016, Army veteran Antoinette Brown died after she was attacked by a pack of loose dogs in Fair Park. In April, a woman was mauled by a pack of dogs in South Dallas but survived.

Currently, the Dallas Animal Services director says too many owners are avoiding tickets for dogs that are declared dangerous by simply surrendering the animals.

Under the new ordinance he's pushing, officers would be able to pursue misdemeanor charges against owners of any loose dogs that bite people. 

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